Hope springs eternal. Especially in training camp.
It really is a magical time of year in the football world. Every club is undefeated. Every roster is loaded with potential. Every player is looking the biggest/fastest/strongest he’s ever looked. Within the isolated bubble of a team’s own roster and staff and media, every NFL fanbase is convinced that this is going to be their year…
Until some outside influence brings a reality check.
The fine folks at Pro Football Focus are no doubt raining on more than a few early-August parades with their latest power rankings for the 2021 season. The expected cream of the crop should be no surprise to anyone, with the Chiefs and Buccaneers sitting pretty as heavy favorites, at No. 1 and 2 respectively, each sporting a Super Bowl win probability (as per PFF’s simulations) in double digits.
But anyone who has spent the past few weeks looking at things through their Oxnard-colored glasses will have to do a fair bit of scrolling to find the Cowboys on the list. PFF places Dallas below the midway mark, at 17th overall in the power rankings.
The site gives America’s Team a 2% chance of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in February. While that’s actually better than teams like San Francisco, Pittsburgh, New England, and Minnesota, it’s also head-scratchingly lower than Atlanta and Las Vegas, even though they fall under Dallas in the power rankings. (The Saints, Colts, and Cardinals also have a 2% Super Bowl win probability, according to PFF.)
The silver lining for the Cowboys may be the division they play in. Once again, the NFC East is predicted to be relatively weak; Dallas’s power ranking of 17 is higher than that of rivals Washington (20), New York (26), and Philadelphia (30). Like Dallas, Washington was given a 2% Super Bowl win probability; the Giants sit at 1%, and the Eagles maintain less than a 1% chance of winning it all.
As is always the case, though, someone has to represent the division in the postseason. And as was the case in 2020, a winning record isn’t even necessary to get into the winter dance. From there, anything can happen.
No matter what the naysayers at Pro Football Focus have to say in late summer about the Cowboys’ placement among all 32 teams.
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